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Santa Ana OKs Aid to Car Dealer

City Council approves $6 million to help a Honda firm grow. The move is criticized.

January 18, 2006|Jennifer Delson | Times Staff Writer

The Santa Ana City Council voted 4 to 2 Tuesday to pay a total of $6 million to help Honda Santa Ana expand at a city-developed auto mall.

The dealership plans to expand onto land leased to Mr. J's, a now-closed strip club. To make room for the expansion and boost tax revenue, the council agreed to acquire the lease and demolish the club. "We need to look at this not as throwing money on the table," Mayor Miguel Pulido said. "We need to look at this as an investment."

Councilwoman Claudia Alvarez questioned the move. "Why are we giving this particular opportunity to Honda?" she asked. "This is a gift of public funds."

The council voted Jan. 5 to approve $5 million to help the dealership expand, but put off until Tuesday another $1 million for Honda's legal expenses incurred in a battle with the landlord of the strip club. On Tuesday, the council gave final approval to the $6-million package.

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